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Education

Parent questions why District 58 doesn't have all survey responses

District: Firm indicated school districts never request raw data

DOWNERS GROVE – Downers Grove Grade School District 58 does not have all the results of a community survey conducted in January, including responses to three open-ended essay questions.

The survey results belong to Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, the consulting firm that conducted the survey, District 58 officials said.

“The district does not have all the survey results,” District 58 Community Relations Coordinator Megan Hewitt said in an email.

The survey contained several quantitative questions and four open-ended essay questions, Hewitt said. The first three open-ended questions were stock questions Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates asks all of its clients. The fourth question was a customized inquiry regarding the community's perceptions of district schools, she said.

The firm gave the Board of Education the answers to the fourth question because the district paid extra to include it, Hewitt said.

“The other open-ended responses and all of the quantitative data have not been released by HYA,” she said.

The firm's legal agreement with the district states that “all information, notes, interview sheets, lists and other documents developed by HYA consultants shall remain the property of HYA.”

Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates in April presented the board with a report that summarized in significant detail the responses of more than 2,400 community members, teachers and students who participated in the district's online survey and 575 people who took part in interviews and focus group discussions.

Tracy Weiner, a parent and vocal critic of the administration and board, believes the district should release all the information gathered in the survey.

Weiner, a member of the District 58 Meet and Confer Committee, said a Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates representative indicated at a meeting the district could have all survey question responses and focus group notes if the district and board asked for the information.

“Well, the administration and the board didn’t ask for it,” Weiner said in a Facebook post. “They only asked for the focus group notes and responses to one question about facilities. So, we paid $23,500 for focus groups and online survey and only got HYA's summary, one survey question [response] and focus group notes."

Hewitt said the firm indicated it has never had a school district request the raw data. If District 58 requested raw data, the firm would require an attorney to review the data to remove any information that could give away an individual's anonymity, she said.

“Since HYA promised survey-takers absolute anonymity, it is understandably very important to them to ensure that all survey-takers' identities remain anonymous,” Hewitt said.

At the June 11 school board meeting, Weiner said failure to ask for all the survey data was analogous to paying for a wedding photographer but never getting the pictures.

“When you pay for a service, you should get everything you paid for," Weiner said. "Not just some of it. From the looks of it, it appears the board and administration got the summary they were looking for and needed to move forward with the administration's initiatives and that they are uninterested in learning anything further."

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